EVERETT — Two brothers must serve lengthy prison sentences for murdering a man in Marysville to steal his casino winnings, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled last week.
Judge Bruce Weiss found Jorge Nava “Speedy” Martinez Jr., 33, played the more significant role in the shooting of Tye Burley outside the Village Motor Inn in Marysville. The judge on Thursday ordered Martinez to serve a little more than 36 years in prison, the most time possible under state guidelines.
His brother Jose Antonio “Chi Chi” Nava, 32, participated in the attack to rip off about $7,000 from Burley, of Arlington, who had just gotten lucky at the Quil Ceda Creek Casino. Nava was sentenced to about 27½ years behind bars.
The original plot was hatched by Jeremy Dailey, who knew about a wad of cash his friend had won gambling. Dailey met up with another man, Jared Evans, in February 2018.
Together, sitting inside a white Dodge Durango with the two Nava brothers, they planned an attack on Burley. Evans believed he might punch Burley, but not kill him, according to the charges.
The two brothers ambushed Burley outside the motel. They beat him. A gunshot rang out. According to the charges, Martinez later told his mother he’d been “assaulting the victim with a firearm when it accidentally went off.”
Burley suffered a gunshot to the head. He died two days later at a hospital. He was 30.
Both brothers went on trial last month in front of the same jury. In closing arguments, the defense lawyers focused on the credibility of the two other defendants. Defense attorney Karen Halverson noted Dailey, 35, had carried out two robberies with a gun in Marysville in 2012. And in this case, he accepted a plea agreement that gave him less than 14 years in prison. Just about anyone might be tempted to lie, if offered a deal that would cut in half the length of a long sentence, Halverson said.
“But we know, and you know, that Jeremy (Dailey) would absolutely lie to get that kind of deal from the prosecutor’s office,” she told the jury. “No question about that.”
Evans, 30, took a plea agreement, too, and he was sentenced to less than 3½ years in prison. He also testified at the trial.
Jurors heard that after the shooting, the brothers fled to California, where police caught up to them.
“The fact that they left, it’s not a great fact,” Halverson said in court. “But it doesn’t mean that they killed anybody, it doesn’t mean that they robbed anybody. It’s certainly consistent with people who are feeling like they’ve been set up, and they’ve been blamed for something, and they need to maybe think about what they need to do.”
A jury deliberated for only a few hours on Christmas Eve before finding both brothers guilty as charged. The brothers were convicted of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon enhancement.
Burley’s family and friends read letters to the judge at the sentencing Thursday, sharing their grief over the man who was stolen from them.
In his letter to the judge, Martinez expressed condolences to Burley’s family. Yet he maintained his innocence.
“I know their lives will never be the same and if I could go back to that day of hanging with the wrong people just to satisfy my addiction and do things differently I would in a heartbeat but unfortunately I can’t and for that I am sorry,” he wrote. “But what I can do is take this as a lesson learned & never give up, I will continue to fight to prove my innocence no matter how many years it takes.”
Martinez has served time behind bars for felony assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and dealing drugs. His felony record began at the age of 13, when he was convicted of auto theft in Skagit County. He grew up in a home without a father figure, he wrote, and he’s afraid of what will happen to his own kids while he’s in prison. His oldest son is 13.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.